How much money would it take to end world hunger? World Poverty?

Those who can not only get richer, but fleece the poor to get richer. It is like the curse of globalization. To become an international figure is the new vanity, and that needs a heck of a lot of money. Or perhaps it is simply human nature.

I had written earlier about the scams coming out of the woodwork. It seems that the political leadership of our country doesn’t have any moral authority to remain, yet they will persist. Not because they care so desperately, but simply because the vastness and diversity of India as well as its “security” infrastructure pretty much guarantees that no movement large enough will happen that cannot be silenced.

Our moral compass itself is so external, that there are few who will simply stand up and declare that what is happening is not acceptable. People like Kiran Bedi, who could charge then PM Indira Gandhi a parking violation simply don’t come along often.

Which brings to mind her continuing efforts to improve governance and transparency. In a world of much hyped activists, she is what is called a reformer. Who changes her world rather than criticizes the standards of others to defend the rights of someone else. She is speaking out strongly in support of Baba Amte’s protest in favour of getting the LOKPAL bill passed, which of course, the politicians are not particularly enthusiastic about….

This bill is important. A vast country like India keeps developing revenue, potential and power. Misuse of it is like an axe in the hands of a monkey. No one knows what will happen, but its unlikely to be good. These revenues, if engaged for the country can transform the misery of its people. In that post about the scams, I had made a list of the many things we could tick off as blots on India’s name, if the money from the scams were recovered.

We see this in many countries around the world. The Arab world is erupting in protest. Pakistan is suffering from its elites, India is in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Africa…. everywhere, it seems like those in power are not interested in sharing the gains. Its like collecting money from your entire class so that you and your best friend can bunk classes to party.

Yet, is it such an impossible task without the greed surrounding it? What would it cost to feed everyone? Every. One. What would it cost to make sure that most people have some amount of money to live on?

The opening lines of Wikipedia’s page on poverty describe poverty as thus:

Poverty is the lack of basic human needs, such as clean and fresh water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter, because of the inability to afford them. This is also referred to as absolute poverty or destitution. Relative poverty is the condition of having fewer resources or less income than others within a society or country, or compared to worldwide averages. About 1.7 billion people live in absolute poverty.

How much money would it take to end world hunger? World poverty? In most of the really poor parts of the world, a dollar or two can cover a day’s expenses. Do the math. With the tremendous resources we have as a developing world, could it be possible to address these issues comprehensively before fighting our wars and other ambitious projects?

If India resolved Kashmir, it could literally afford to pay people out of poverty, as could Pakistan. If US spent on the world for food what it spends on war (and other assorted armed supports), WORLD HUNGER would be history…. with money to spare. But it seems our egos overtake our sense.

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Vidyut is a blogger on issues of National interest. Staunch advocate of rights, learning and freedoms. @Vidyut

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